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Three Ways Supply Chain Finance Can Fund the Future

As demands for advanced technologies and innovative transformation increase, manufacturing leaders face a critical obstacle—liquidity. The need for cash is forcing manufacturers and suppliers to make immense and costly changes to their businesses. In a study published by Deloitte, 86 of the top 100 R&D spenders belong to the manufacturing sector. We can expect more R&D investments in 2019 as the industry looks to overcome challenges such as a shortage of talent and the requirement for “smarter” manufacturing. According to Korn Ferry, the global manufacturing industry is expected to reach a shortage of nearly 8 million people by 2030. Meanwhile, PwC reports that just 10% of global manufacturi

New Manufacturing Training Facility Hopes To Help Restore The Mon Valley

A program that offers free machining and manufacturing training recently expanded to McKeesport. The non-profit New Century Careers will run the tuition-free facility, which organizers hope will help restore the once-booming industrial economy in the Mon Valley. Neil Ashbaugh, New Century Careers Director of Services, said graduates will be ready to enter a field with a high demand for workers. The company has been training machinists and other manufacturing workers in southwestern Pennsylvania since 1999 and Ashbaugh says the tech sector has renewed demand for workers. “When you think of what a machinist does, they learn specific skills,” Ashbaugh said, “While they learn specific equipment

Real Tech Talent Is Hiding in Plain Sight

It often takes a college degree, or at least more high-tech certifications, to program and maintain things like industrial 3D printers, robotics, and other workplace automation machines. This is where it makes sense for companies to actually pay for the training and education of their employees. Rather than conduct a six-month search for someone to manage your company’s robots, why not train a couple of your employees? This will not only make the search easier — just ask your floor managers who would be able to handle that kind of responsibility — but you can make paying for their education a part of their work requirements. For example, offer to pay for their education for two years if they

Is the Term Blue Collar Outdated?

I have always considered myself to be part of the solution. Well, it turns out I might, in fact, be part of the problem. After writing an article discussing how AI can help blue-collar workers, I got called to task by Jesse Z Melton, a process consultant at Harpers Ferry Toolworks. "You are doing a great disservice to our industry,” he said, “by using the outdated term of blue collar. We are trying hard to attract the labor we need and using an outdated word that unfortunately conjures up images of undereducated, dirty, low paid, sweatshop jobs, is just not correct. These are high-tech jobs in clean environments and we have to get that message out.” And it isn't just Melton that feels this w

US Needs National Apprenticeship Structure

A large reason for the strength of Germany’s manufacturing sector can be attributed to its well-established and highly structured apprenticeship program. This model has been brought to the U.S. through German companies with divisions or has been adopted by American businesses. StartFragment Although U.S. programs have been successful in implementing apprenticeship programs, they usually only address the needs of specific companies or industries such as manufacturing. Even with support from the U.S. Department of Labor, including an official certification process, apprenticeship opportunities remain limited. A broader, national strategy is needed. “Like other countries, in the U.S. we have t

Can’t Track 28 KPIs? Focus on These Top 10

While establishing and measuring key performance indicators—KPIs—is well-accepted as good management, it’s easier said than done for many small and mid-sized manufacturers. These firms typically understand that determining performance against KPIs is vital in reaching strategic and tactical goals in the short- and long-term. They allow for issues to be identified so that improvements can be made. The Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association researched 28 manufacturing performance indicators as most important by decision makers, but the reality is that most companies have trouble tracking more than two or three performance indicators, let alone 28. Additionally, KPIs can change as the c

ESOP & Succession Planning - Panel Discussion

The NWIRC will host a program about Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP), along with an informative discussion on succession planning from those with first-hand experience. Regional manufacturers will share their stories of succession planning and offer insights to companies that are just getting started or need to move their plan forward.

This program in rural Pennsylvania is teaching kids about robotics

Timothy Heffernan is the gifted support teacher at Franklin Area High School in Venango County, a rural part of northwest Pennsylvania. Each year, he lets his students tell him what they’re interested in and designs their learning around that topic. Four years ago, it was robotics. So he did what any good teacher would do, Heffernan joked to the Capital-Star: He went online and started looking for good ideas to steal. That’s when he found VEX Robotics, a STEM education program that provides robots to schools and gives students a chance to compete with their creations. Now, in 2019, that class has grown into the five-county Pennsylvania Rural Robotics Initiative, which has placed 180 robots i

Workforce initiatives balance present, future needs

The strong economy has been making it difficult for businesses that need qualified and skilled technical workers. And while some established workforce initiatives with a long-range focus are paying off, other efforts are underway to match workers’ skills with specific jobs in the shorter term, several observers said in recent interviews. Efforts centering on the emerging workforce, such as students in high school and those attending trade or technical schools, started years ago, said Darlene J. Robbins, president of the Northeast PA Manufacturers and Employers Association, which is based in Pottsville. “Every region of every county is providing some type of programming,” Robbins said. Her gr

Reshoring Resulted in 145,000 Jobs During 2018

Reshoring and foreign direct investment in the U.S. increased 38% during 2018, the highest level in history according to the Reshoring Initiative, the agency formed to advance the effects of "reshoring." The term describes the phenomenon of manufacturers relocating manufacturing activity and services, or sourcing, to the U.S. from overseas. For 2018, the combination of reshoring and FDI represented 145,000 jobs, the second highest annual rate of job increases on record. The total job increases credited to reshoring, including upward revisions of 36,000 jobs in prior years, is over 757,000 since the 2010 low-point for domestic manufacturing employment. The data is drawn from the Reshoring Ini

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